"Andy Pettitte was outstanding today," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley in his postgame remarks. "He had command from the first hitter, used all his pitches. He was going to be tough to beat.
"I thought the game was a lot closer than the score at the end. They got some big hits with some guys on."
New York (10-10) led, 4-0, after seven innings and broke the game open in the ninth on a three-run double by shortstop Derek Jeter. Baltimore (11-8) had won three straight games prior to the setback and had scored six runs or more in all of them. Pettitte stalled that momentum early, though, and held the Orioles to just four baserunners.
Pettitte cruised easily through the early going, keeping the Orioles from hitting anything particularly hard. The southpaw recorded seven groundouts and four strikeouts in the first four innings alone. Left fielder Jay Payton broke up his perfect game with an infield single in the fifth, and Pettitte (3-1) wound up stranding two runners on base in that rally.
Baltimore got a leadoff double in the seventh inning, but Pettitte escaped on two ground balls and a popup. The veteran improved to 23-6 with a 3.76 ERA lifetime against the Orioles, which stands as the third-highest victory total against Baltimore. Only Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter (26) and three-time All-Star Mickey Lolich (25) have more wins against the Orioles.
"He was tough -- when he has both sides of the plate covered, he's tough," said Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar. "Sometimes you can get some baserunners on him, but he was pounding the strike zone. He made it tough for us to score."
New York had a little more success against Baltimore starter Steve Trachsel. The right-hander ran into trouble in the fourth inning, when he walked right fielder Bobby Abreu with one out. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez and designated hitter Hideki Matsui followed with run-scoring doubles, the latter of which gave New York a 2-0 lead.
Trachsel escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, when he coaxed a threat-ending double play from Jason Giambi.
"Andy, obviously, was throwing the ball real well," said a subdued Trachsel after the game. "I was throwing the ball well, too. I just came up short, but I'm happy with the way I threw the ball."
"Trachsel has a way of coming up with the big pitch," added Trembley of his starter's performance. "He keeps the guys off balance. I thought his breaking stuff was good today. He pitched down for the most part, and I thought when we got the double-play ball, the tempo of the game would shift in our favor, but it didn't. Pettitte pitched better, bottom line."
The Yankees added on in the seventh inning, using two extra-base hits to score two runs. Trachsel (1-3) got one quick out but served up a double to Chad Moeller on a ball that bounced off the top of the left-field fence. Baltimore went to situational reliever Chad Bradford, who let the game get away by allowing a two-run homer to leadoff man Johnny Damon
Bradford has allowed just four home runs since the start of the 2005 season, and Trembley said he simply missed his spot.
"It's probably one of those things it doesn't happen very often," said Trembley. "I think his record will indicate he doesn't give up many home run pitches. He was trying to get the ball in and got too much of the middle of the plate, and Damon hit it."
Pettitte left after seven innings, and the Orioles immediately got two runners on base against the bullpen. The game was interrupted by the first rain delay at that point, temporarily halting Baltimore's momentum in its tracks. The Orioles added one run when the game resumed, but New York answered with three late runs to account for the final margin.
There was another delay before the top of the ninth, but the Orioles ended up going quietly.
"We got a good six or seven innings, but then it just got yucky," said Millar. "You play, you sit, you play, you sit."
"We won two out of three," Trembley said. "We got some big hits from a lot of guys in the lineup. Our starting pitchers got us deep in the game all three times and we spread it around in the lineup. And I thought defensively, we were good."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.